“… I don’t know if his hands are moving
but I bet they are somehow I’d feel
washed over like that too and be so
proud of us”
Isn’t it a great country he asks me
as we cross the Panhandle
for the second time in three days
I suppose I answer but
why would you say that
right here right
This paved road he says
through these fields and
trucks carrying every imaginable
somewhere many trains you think
we passed in both directions between
these poles the government
look at them put up a long time ago
just to bring electricity so these…
“In the last few years, when I’ve gone abroad it has become an increasingly bigger test of courage to state I’m from the U.S.”
Shortly before leaving England, I took my daughter to our favorite park to let her stomp about a pitted soccer field. It’s an old park surrounded on three sides by woods and on one side by a brick wall of a Victorian-era prison.
Another father was there with two kids: one a toddler the same age as my daughter, keen to push his own stroller; the other was in primary school, huddled over her phone. We got to talking, as people so often do now when emerging from lockdown, and because we were non-white people in an English city. …
“I think for me what is interesting about this series of work is the diversity of voices within myself.”
Editors’ Note: Alexandra (Ali) Blum is a California-based artist who draws on influences from around the world. When the quarantine was put in place, she started a series of paintings — which quickly became a series of mixed-media artworks — addressing the pandemic, politics, climate change, racism, protests, and other big topics of 2020.
On her website, Alexandra describes her goals as an artist: “I am interested in capturing the moment of seeing when something changes and the magic in the everyday. Hiraesh — a homesickness for a home to which you cannot return, a home that maybe never was; the nostalgia, the yearning, the grief for the lost places of your past is essential to my work. My interior world is of memories of childhood, books, songs, and stories. …
We at Broad Street are proud of everything we publish, and we wish we could nominate all of it for every award out there. Alas, we can choose only a handful. For Best of the Net, some nominees come from our Summer/Fall 2019 “Birth, School, Work, Death” issue, some from our 2020 Pandemonium Blog. All of them come from the heart. Why not give them a read or a re-read right now?
“I Got Grown,” a memoir by Joe Milan, Jr.: A young man begins work where others’ lives end.
“On learning that I should sacrifice myself for the good of the public,” by Lise Haines: from the author’s COVID journals. …
chews your skin with its scissor teeth, through delicate capillaries for the sweet stain of red, it does so completely in earnest.
It ushers in the flagellate protozoan Trypanosoma brucei gambiense. Those misshapen parentheses swim — and they must swim — through passageways, the secrets of your body. The tsetse fly is long gone by the time your central nervous system starts to stutter.
A child catching her breath over the steep hill of a consonant.
What the doctors call sleeping sickness is to the tsetse fly nothing more than the squeal of a hawk catching a barn mouse. …
After Robert Lowell’s “Waking in the Blue”
I weigh one hundred and five pounds
after my New York breakfast
of vanilla Soylent, all I can keep down these days, thanks
to the anti-depressant. I swallow it, beige smoothie,
every four to six hours.
SSRI? Every twenty-four.
My roommate asks if I will eat something.
No, a real something,
and I do.
Nobody wants to live with a corpse.
I want to show him — all of them —
strut around this city, skin melting off bones, screaming, “I am here!”
to the Brooklyn Bridge, all 14,680 tons of her.
Mari Pack’s work has appeared in Yes, Poetry, Quail Bell Magazine, and others. The Description of a New World, her first chapbook, was published by Dancing Girl Press in 2019. Mari is an editor for Guideposts.
“Maybe depression is a normal response to a global pandemic. We don’t really have benchmarks for such an event. If I get down, what can I use to help me bounce back?”
I do not plan to cry.
I am lying on my back, watching my husband put on his pajamas. I have brushed my teeth and turned out my light.
“That was a good episode,” he says, pulling on his flannel PJ pants. “The scene when the brother and his wife…” He trails off, chuckling.
Oh god, I think. He is laughing about a scene on the show Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist in which Zoey’s brother admits to his wife that he has been counting — down to the hour — since the last time they had sex. …
“I said, Fix me.”
I wanted a thing in the shape of a Yom Kippur fast, smelling
of hands clasped in anguish. I bought it online.
The package slid up and down in various directions
on black belts in one of Amazon’s famous fulfillment centers
outside a major city. Philadelphia. Baltimore. Columbus, Ohio.
A computer scanned and tracked its progress.
It was shipped to me by average humans with choppy beards,
braids in their hair, or buns. As their system weighed
the ephemeral to ensure my order was correct, I wondered
Did I want this? Too late. Bed frames. Beauty products. …
“I want to do the right thing. I just don’t know exactly what that is right now.”
I don’t want to go back.
As a lifelong New Yorker, I hate to admit that.
But it’s true.
Worried about what will happen to all my kids’ three schools next month.
Will they open?
For what hours?
How will I manage all the varying, perhaps staggered, schedules of the four kids?
I’ve gotten used to a complete lack of logistics management, something that used to hijack my brain for hours each day.
Life is so much simpler without having to rush everywhere all the time ... …
“My real-life grief hadn’t vanished, but it felt lighter, more manageable. Then the shutdown hit …”
To view the film, click here or on the link at the end of the artist’s statement.
Sometimes art is an oracle. Two years after the death of my Uncle Bobby, the late geologist Robert Ginsburg, I wrote and directed the short film featured here.
But I wasn’t ready — logistically or emotionally — to release “Bottled” until March 2020, mere days before New York City’s COVID-19 shutdown. I can’t explain why exactly. I simply followed my impulse. As much as I wanted the film to resonate with others, I was mostly concerned with catharsis. At long last, I would click “export” and it would be finished. My real-life grief hadn’t vanished, but it felt lighter, more manageable. …